“On Race’s Ism” by Thom Amundsen

In Childhood


Stuck trying to find the right words

If something is wrong

Then an offense has occurred

And we each know the name of that song


We may not try

However simple the notion that crossed our mind

Whatever may have caused her to cry

Gives credence to this present bind


Look into the mirror each morning

And see a face that is ready to play

Calling all friends of all world’s abiding

Each other’s desires; each one’s way


We are a simple dream of childhood

Recognizing every person that crosses our path

Knowing our little neighbor, hood

Is really filled with love and knows no wrath


Child’s eyes watch the television

When a man named Malcolm X lost his life

He didn’t really understand that vision

Yet now innocence knew certain strife


His quiet world of matchbox cars

And riding a bicycle down rural roads

There were no Emmett Till moments; no steel bars

That suggested how a quiet world soon explodes



Coming of Age


Grandfather’s sun-porch on a late afternoon

It is April 4th and by evening

A world we knew that lived under the same moon

Now in a child’s eyes witnessed a blood-letting


Look into the mirror each morning

Recognize the horror that stands silent

Wash away the culling

Nature of this daily lament


Outside a world quietly anticipates

A brush of the shoulder

A passing glance that irritates

An individual mind’s moment of order


And in a flash the future is different

We look at each other with a certain fear

A society that seems no more reverent

Than a glance in the headlights by a passing deer


We are now afraid

Civil rights has become a long awaited

Long suggested sacrificial trade…

Years of intolerance; human tragedy abated


As decades pass we begin to recognize voices

Speaking of equality; shouting MLK Jr’s dream

A certain fog seems to embrace our choices

Is it a dream, or a fear now to actually scream



Present Hypocrisy


A newscaster recently applauded

A verdict with biting analysis

A jury of peers apparently spoke and quietly lauded

A system of unequivocal legalese justice


In a classroom the teacher taught Langston Hughes

A poem about finding your heart

See there are many different, contrasting views

We just need sometimes a place to start


Hypocrisy exists if we design by our own will

Is it wrong to fight against the man?

When really it is the Man that speaks to fulfill

A spiritual reckoning; a delightful sermon


Might inspire our hearts to seek the soul

Of our existence; that human purposed

Together today teaching whole

Worlds might recognize each other as he proposed


Fight with a certain wrath the accusations

Plead for generalities to be ignored

And stand firm to agree with each other’s visions

To be explored, believe, lived, and favored


Common ground exists within our lives

To recognize each other’s eyes that shine above

The judgment and fury of angst, that deprives

Our elegant human hearts to share what is their love